10 music venues you must visit in Birmingham

Birmingham is a city with a vibrant cultural scene; there is so much to see and do every day of the week, including live music, theatre and art. We asked students from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire what their favourite live music venues are in the city, and marked them on a map so you can see how much music you can experience away from your own performance and practice – and many of the best venues are really close to the Conservatoire itself

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1) Dead Wax

Dead Wax pride themselves on celebrating the vibrant local creative scene, with an extensive vinyl collection, DJ booth and gig room.

Dead Wax

2) The Rainbow

An iconic Birmingham pub, carefully restored to the heart of Digbeth's nightlife. The Rainbow holds many fond memories for thousands of Brummies. Meeting friends, watching gigs, dancing until the early hours, falling in love. All the things that happen in a proper pub.

The Rainbow

3) The Sunflower Lounge

An independent live music venue and restaurant for smaller, more intimate gigs from some of Birmingham’s best emerging local bands. As well as the best local live music, The Sunflower Lounge also has a DJ playing everything from 60’s to indie rock to funk and soul. 

The Sunflower Lounge

The Sunflower Lounge

4) The Spotted Dog

An old cosy pub with a performance space for regular live music. There is a selection of music events depending on the day of the week, from traditional Irish musicians, jazz, classical compositions, blues, folk and more. As well as live music, the performance space in The Spotted Dog is also used for film and spoken word.

The Spotted Dog

The Spotted Dog

5) The City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra (CBSO)

The CBSO is one of the world’s greatest orchestras. Based in the CBSO Centre, the orchestra provides over 100 concerts each year and plays a wide variety of musical genres. From classical to contemporary musical to symphonic disco, the CBSO gets involved in all aspects of music-making in the West Midlands.



6) International Convention Centre (ICC) and Symphony Hall

The ICC is a key conference venue in Birmingham City Centre. Including Symphony Hall, the ICC has 11 halls that host around 400 events every year.

Symphony Hall is a concert venue within the ICC and stages performances from a variety of genres including jazz, folk, pop, rock, classical and dance.


Symphony Hall

7) Custard Factory

The renovated factories that make up the Custard Factory are now home to the best of Birmingham’s young creative talent. Many different events take place at the Custard Factory, from music nights and festivals to gigs and poetry readings.

The Custard Factory

Custard Factory

8) The Night Owl

Named after Northern Soul record ‘The Night Owl’ by Booby Paris, this venue is the Midlands’ finest soul and retro club, as well as an intimate live music venue. Situated in the core of Birmingham’s creative quarter, The Night Owl is a hub for soul and guitar-based music.

The Night Owl

The Night Owl

9) Lab 11

A warehouse club and DJ venue with industrial beams, smoke machines and regular live DJ sets to rival London’s warehouse party scene, Lab 11 provides a platform for the best techno and house DJ’s.

Lab 11

Lab 11

10) O2 Institute

The O2 Institute is an essential part of the live music culture in Birmingham. Since turning into a music venue it has been attracting internationally renowned artists and has been an important part of the city’s live music and club scene.

O2 Institute

O2 Institute